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How To Archive Email in Outlook

Mailbox Full

How large are your Outlook email folders growing? Given the amount of emails that are sent every day, they are probably growing very fast indeed, and if you haven’t done anything about it, they are probably getting too large.

email archiving

From a work efficiency point of view that is not desirable, especially when they are so large and disordered that you can’t find anything; and the larger the folders the longer time it takes Outlook to search them too. But there is also another important reason to manage your email folders if you are using an older version of Outlook, and that is the PST file size limit.

A PST is a personal storage table and it is where you store your messages, contacts, calendar and other information in various Microsoft applications such as Outlook. In Outlook 2003 and earlier versions the PST limit is 2 GB and, although in later versions there is no limit, performance problems can occur if it exceeds 20 GB.

The simple solution to keeping control of the size of your PST file is to create an Outlook archive. It is very easy to do. You simply select Data management from the Outlook menu, click Add, choose the .pst option and click OK. Enter a PST file name, and click OK. Now you have created an archive PST you simply drag the folders and individual items that you wish to archive to it.

Alternatively you can use the Outlook Auto Archive feature if you are not using an Outlook Exchange Server.  This moves items to an archive file folder when they expire, in other words exceed a preset age, and you can also choose to permanently delete rather than to archive them.

By default Outlook Auto Archive scans your email folders for expired email once every two weeks though the setting can be changed.
Many organisations are deciding that, rather than leaving email archiving up to individuals, they do it corporately often using third party email service providers. This ensures that there are proper controls on the emails that are archived and those that are deleted so that compliance policies are adhered to. With such a system the archive is created by storing a copy of each email the server processes.

Other advantages of such a system are reduction in email duplication, increased storage resources, and the creation of a searchable archive that can be accessed by anyone in the organisation with the appropriate permissions, as well as providing a company-wide backup system.

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